Mr Rudd won the Queensland seat of Griffith at the 1998 election and was promoted to Labor's front bench in 2001 as foreign affairs spokesman, a position he held until today.
The politician with the nicknames Harry Potter, Heavy Kevvie and Pixie, will now begin a media blitz to sell himself and his message to voters ahead of an election that could be called as early as August but will be held within 12 months.
However, he inherits the leadership of a party that is ahead in the polls, according to the latest Herald/ACNielsen poll, which shows, on a two-party preferred basis, Labor ahead of the Liberal-National Coalition by 56 to 44.
The poll also suggested Mr Rudd would invigorate Labor's primary vote by luring support back from the Greens, minor parties and independents.
Born in Nambour, Mr Rudd is married to Therese Rein and the couple have three children.
He graduated from the Australian National University and is a former diplomat having served the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at postings in Sweden and China.
He has a strong interest in China, speaks Mandarin, and was recently in Beijing holding talks with senior Chinese Government officials.
While he has no experience as an MP in Government, he says he has a "range of experiences'' that equip him for the job. He served as chief-of-staff to Queensland Labor Premier Wayne Goss.
3 Dec. 2006
So who is Kevin Rudd?
at 4:30:00 pm